April 28, 2016
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In a gesture of acknowledgement of her prudent and able leadership towards making Bangladesh as one of the developing world’s biggest MDG success stories, HPM Sheikh Hasina has been appointed as a member of the United Nations High-Level Panel on Water. Along with ten heads of state and government, this panel will put up efforts at mobilizing effective action to accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), launched last January. The UN panel will also provide the leadership required to tackle these challenges and champion a comprehensive, inclusive and collaborative way of developing and managing water resources, and providing improved access to clean water and sanitation.
Given the recent acceleration in the per capital income, fueled by a healthy outlook in all key economic indicators, the government officials pins high optimism that the country would witness a record over 7% GDP growth at the end of this fiscal year. In light of the government’s vision to transform Bangladesh into a middle income nation by 2021, the country has been elevated to the lower middle income nation last year, while a new record of growth were set out at several times as regards the export earnings, remittances and industrializations over the last six years.
With an aim to provide the people with a round the clock advice centered on health issues, the government has launched a call center last week, taking healthcare another step closer to the doorsteps of people. Envisaged by the AL government, under this initiative, people can also lodge complaints against public and private hospitals and clinics. In addition, it will also help patients get public and private ambulances on an emergency basis. Such services can also be availed of on the website 16263.dghs.gov.bd, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shastobatayon, by email at 16263@nis.dghs.gov.bd and by SMS at 008801511316263 number.
Bangladesh, along with some 175 countries, has signed the historic Paris Climate Agreement, aiming to take various measures to save the world from the disastrous consequences of climate change. At the signing event, the Bangladesh statement highlighted HPM Sheikh Hasina's personal commitment to combating climate change, reaffirming her government's readiness to continue to work towards mobilizing greater international effort in support of a comprehensive implementation of the deal. Bangladesh also flagged various initiatives taken by the government to adapt to climate change in a pro-active manner with its own resources and international cooperation.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
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According to the latest Human Development Report as released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangladesh has a huge young and productive workforce that will continue to increase until 2030 and can contribute to dramatic socio-economic development. After the end of 2030, the workforce in Bangladesh will reach 70% of the total population; currently, the nation’s labour workforce is 66% of its population. Given that real and measurable progresses are being made in helping people gain access to education, health, and employment services, hopes run high that this potential demography would be transformed into a quality workforce.
As the government has laid out and started an effective and sustainable campaign to promote the tourism sector both at home and abroad, employment opportunities have opened up for some 3,00,000 people within the next three years. As part of the tourism boost campaign, works are well underway to get the Cox's Bazar airport upgraded to an international airport by 2018. A number of memorandums have already been signed with a number of foreign countries to introduce Bangladesh before the foreign travelers.
HPM Sheikh Hasina has recently given the nod to taking on a $154 million concessional loan from a Chinese state bank, for establishing a “Tier-IV National Data Centre” in the country to ensure safe and secure data storage. Once the project is implemented, Bangladesh will have its own state-of-the-art data centre, and it will be installed on seven acres of land at Kaliakoir Hi-Tech Park.
According to the officials of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Aman rice output rose to a new high of nearly 13.5 million tonnes in the immediate past season owing to increased plantation and particularly of high-yielding varieties. Farmers planted the monsoon-based crop on 5.50 million hectares last season, up from 5.30 million hectares a year earlier, ushering in a new hope in the life of farmers.
A wide number of development projects were undertaken by the government to mordenize and equip the port, giving it a major uplift. The projects under CPA's strategic master-plan include procurement of necessary equipments for strengthening the port's container handling capacity by 2017 to utilize full capacity of New Mooring container terminal, construction of proposed Karnaphuli container terminal by 2020, first phase of bay terminal by 2023, and multipurpose terminal construction on existing GCB jetty by 2024.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY
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Envisaged, introduced and implemented by HPM Sheikh Hasina, the seventh five year plan has turned out to be an instrumental one in reducing the disparity of wealth and uplifting the lives of people from the clutches of poverty and hunger. Considered as a bold and visionary step by the experts, the policy has also been helping women gain their economic freedom and avail employment opportunities. Implementation of previous such plans, as deemed by experts, played a crucial role to achieve the MDG related goals while this one incorporates a set of goals related to the SDGs.
The government has proceeded with the move to set up 200 solar based desalination plants by end of this year to bring 6,00,000 people in coastal areas under potable water coverage. The plans to set up desalination plants in larger scale have been taken up after some solar driven desalination plants in Cox's Bazar worked successfully in overcoming drinking water crisis for the inhabitants. Country's first ever solar-driven plants set up under a pilot programme, which were opened in August last year, have proved to be a successful initiative to remove drinkable water problems for seriously water crisis hit inhabitants in the region.
TRADE AND INVESTMENT
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At the fourth Bangladesh Investment Summit, Asia, held at Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong, policymakers and business leaders from Bangladesh showcased the country’s potential as a top investment destination after China and India. In reference to the rise in the inflow of foreign direct investment, the summit also showcased all the progress the country witnessed on various socio-economic indicators, including GDP growth, per capita income, food production, low inflation, job creation, social mobility and women’s empowerment.
The global consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) launched its Bangladesh office in the capital aiming to provide auditing, accounting and consultancy services to Bangladesh government and corporate houses. At the inaugural session, PwC Bangladesh Chairman Deepak Kapoor, said that as the Bangladesh economy continues to grow from strength to strength, their company will be offering services on six areas including government reforms and infrastructure projects, Public Private Partnership (PPP), technology, digital and data analytics, operational effectiveness and improved organizational performance, taxation and cyber security and forensics in business.
INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL COOPERATION
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A new project worth $316 million has been undertaken by the government to improve cross border road network aimed at boosting regional and sub-regional blocks connectivity. According to the project proposal, the cross-border improvement network project would play a vital role towards improving the socio-economic condition of 1.7 billion people in this region and also boost trade among four neighbouring countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. Under the project, some 17 small and medium bridges, seven culverts and two axel load control stations situated on the Asian Highway corridor AH-1 and AH-41 will be constructed or replaced.
Terming the recent outbreak of militancy across the globe as alarming, Bangladesh and Germany have vowed to put in joint efforts in place to counter the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism. During a discussion at the Foreign Office Consultation, attended by foreign secretaries of both countries, issues which came to the fore included, all aspects of the existing bilateral relations, while both sides underscored the need for regular two-way high political-level visits to take the relations to a newer height.
POWER AND ENERGY
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Attending the ministerial meeting of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the UN headquarters in New York, Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali has said that Bangladesh is likely to emerge as one of the largest solar nations globally, given the country’s pursuit to develop and harness solar energy to ensure electricity for all by 2021. Reaffirming HPM Sheikh Hasina’s commitment to combat global climate change in coalition with ISA, the envoy announced that Bangladesh would join the upcoming two programmes related to the ISA -- “Affordable finance at scale” and “Scaling solar applications for agricultural use”.
The dream for the country’s first ever nuclear power plant has appeared much closer to a reality now, thanks to the heartfelt and sincere efforts put in place by the AL government. To be built upon 1,062 acres of land, the two chambered plant has a total capacity of 2.4000 MW, where Russian VVER-1200 technology will be applied. At a total cost of $12.65 billion, the first unit will be launched by 2022 while the second one will be launched the following year.The work to set up a monitoring station, concrete basic plant, storage warehouse, pump house, office and residential building for engineers, water supply, and rain water management system are at the last stages now.
Bangladesh has discovered the biggest ever limestone mine in Naogaon whose commercial production could completely cut the country's reliance on import of the key ingredient for cement. Spread over a 50-square kilometre area, exploration of this quarry would ensure that the country would no longer need to import limestone, and an amount of $127.7 million would be saved on an annual basis. Within the next two years, the mine would go into commercial operation. The limestone was found at a depth of 2,214 feet, and its presence has so far been traced down to 2,285 feet with a thickness of 71 feet.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives